Jan. 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM ET
Are we looking at a presidential domination at this year's Golden Globes? Although the Globes never completely mirror the Academy Awards, they'll be compared anyway. Earlier in the year, "Zero Dark Thirty" was many critics' pick for a big winner this awards season. But after "Lincoln" dominated the Oscar nominations, with "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow and "Argo" director Ben Affleck missing out on director nods, the mood may be shifting towards a big night for the railsplitter from Illinois.
Movie themes are serious this year. "Zero Dark Thirty" has made headlines for its infamous torture scenes. "Les Miserables" is nominated in the supposedly lighter comedy/musical category, but it's still a grim slog through prison, abuse, revolution, and Anne Hathaway selling her teeth and hair to feed Amanda Seyfried. In "Lincoln," our beloved sixteenth president manages to free the slaves, but that dark night at Ford's Theatre still awaits him. "Argo" brings back the grim worry of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. And "Django Unchained" features whippings, brandings and other tortures of the slavery era, as well as the standard Quentin Tarantino buckets of blood.
"Homeland" should do well on the TV side of things, with stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis both contenders. Danes is always a fan favorite -- when she won last year, she made sure to thank her mother since she forgot to do so when she won back in 1994 for "My So-Called Life." "Girls," "Breaking Bad," "Veep" and "Mad Men" also have a shot. And who doesn't love nerdy Jim Parsons in "The Big Bang Theory"?
There's always a slightly quirky bent to the Golden Globes, and not just because the attendees can drink during the ceremony. The awards are given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and films and shows with a more international appeal are recognized more here than at other awards ceremonies. There's other weirdness, too. A star's child is dubbed Miss Golden Globe (sometimes Mr.) and "assists" in the awards. (This year, it's Francesca Eastwood.) At one past ceremony, Angelina Jolie jumped into the Beverly Hilton pool in her formal gown. And odd results in more than one year have led to suggestions that the judges are a bit, shall we say, easy to persuade.
For the past three years, Ricky Gervais made headlines for his no-holds-barred approach to hosting -- which in Hollywood terms meant he occasionally jabbed the rich and comfortable, to the delight of the audience. But this year, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have taken over the hosting duties. Poehler told The Hollywood Reporter that "the Golden Globes is just quirky and weird enough, I think, that it's up our alley." And Fey pointed out the alcohol issue, saying "when you get a bunch of people in a room who don't eat much, and you give them one drink, it gets good fast."
On the red carpet, all eyes will be on singer Adele, making her first post-baby appearance (she's nominated for the theme from "Skyfall," a classy old-school number that does Bond proud).
And we'll also be checking out Jennifer Lawrence, who's up for best actress for "Silver Linings Playbook" and has rocked the red carpet before. Curvy Sofia Vergara will set the cameras clicking, and we're betting Anne Hathaway will remember to wear underwear this time.